UPDATE: Senator McCain responds to the DrudgeReport story, via Politico. This part of the story is a problem for the senaor, making a non-story a real one:
But, McCain said, “I have not been in talks with The New York Times.”
However, Politico has confirmed that McCain himself had one conversation with Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, in which the senator urged him not to go with the story.
Waiting for the New York Times to post on the story in which it is a participant.
What a campaign.
Drudge reports that the New York Times is covering up a McCain story. I’d rather senior Timesman Bill Keller continue to stonewall demands for damaging details so that Senator McCain loses and is understood to have failed not because of some pseudo-scandal but because of his past opposition to Bush tax cuts, McCain-Feingold, the Gang of 14 and McCain-Kennedy. The senator is not liked by the GOP base, though he is of course admired by them. He wouldn’t be liked any less even if the scandal was real, and it is almost certainly not given the rigor with which the senator has avoided anything like ethical impropriety after clearing his name in the long ago Keating scandal.
Keller’s intervention is just so funny given the paper’s willingness to splash on the front page national security secrets that could assist terrorists.
The paper’s conduct is much more interesting than the non-story it is alleged to be sitting on. The only way to make sense of its indifference to national security combined with its solicitude for Senator McCain is via the understanding that the paper’s leadership is 100% infected with Bush Derangement Syndrome, and that they view McCain as the best GOP standard bearer when it comes to generating criticism of the president from the GOP side. (Keller et al could never support even the Bush foreign policy-bashing Huckabee because Mike is thoroughly pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, and evangelical.) With McCain, the paper would avoid either Romney or Giuliani, both of whom approve of the Bush Administration’s general view of the world and its resolve in Iraq in the face of the left’s criticism. Both are also much better positioned to beat either Senator Clinton or Obama in the general. McCain of course supported the invasion of Iraq and the surge, but he is much more likely to condemn the Bush Adminsitration as unprepared etc than either Mitt or Rudy, and in a tone far more pleasing to the Bush-haters at the Times. Covering for McCain makes sense as the paper wants the least Republican as the Republican nominee, and in McCain gets a Bush critic to boot, even if for reasons the paper doesn’t share.
Then there’s this George Will hammer blow aimed at Mike Huckabee. I don’t support Huckabee either, but Reagan was very much a social conservative, so to declare as Will does that Huckabee’s candidacy is a “wholesale repudiation” of Reaganism is overstatement:
On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee’s role in the ’70s Show involves blending Jimmy Carter’s ostentatious piety with Nixon’s knack for oblique nastiness. “Despicable” and “appalling” evidence of a “gutter campaign” — that is how The Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence, Mass., characterized this from Sunday’s New York Times Magazine profile of Huckabee: “‘Don’t Mormons,’ he asked in an innocent voice, ‘believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?'”
Imagine someone asking “in an innocent voice” this: “Don’t Jews use the blood of gentile children to make matzoth for Passover?” Such a smarmy injection of the “blood libel,” an ancient canard of anti-Semitism, into civic discourse would indelibly brand the injector as a bigot with contempt for the public’s ability to decode bigotry.
Huckabee’s campaign actually is what Rudy Giuliani’s candidacy is misdescribed as being — a comprehensive apostasy against core Republican beliefs. Giuliani departs from recent Republican stances regarding two issues — abortion and the recognition by the law of same-sex couples. Huckabee’s radical candidacy broadly repudiates core Republican policies such as free trade, low taxes, the essential legitimacy of America’s corporate entities and the market system allocating wealth and opportunity. And consider New Hampshire’s chapter of the National Education Association, the teachers union that is a crucial component of the Democratic Party’s base.
In 2004, New Hampshire’s chapter endorsed Howard Dean in the Democratic primary and no one in the Republican primary. Last week it endorsed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary — and Huckabee in the Republican primary. It likes, as public employees generally do, his record of tax increases, and it applauds his opposition to school choice.
Huckabee’s role in this year’s ’70s Show is not merely to attempt to revise a few Republican beliefs. He represents wholesale repudiation of what came after the 1970s — Reaganism.